You told me to listen,
used condescending phrases to inform me
that technically we are all animals
if we are required to be literal and
scientific in our debate,
so you could try and justify calling me
a term used to describe farm animals.
You looked me in the eye
And sternly attempted
To convince me that
There is no such thing as race
That racism and generalizing people
Because of how they look
Or how dark the pigment in their skin is
No longer remains an issue.
In my society
This society that I am expected to bow down
And conform to
My African American and Native American father
Is expected to follow your orders
He is expected to let his kids grow up without a father
Not have a job
Drink more than he can afford
Get paid substantially less for the same work that you do
He is expected to speak Ebonics
Be a predator
Sell your son drugs
Rape your daughter in deserted alleys
He is expected to fill a spot in your jails
Another locked up colored that you have to pay taxes for
He is expected to barely have a high school diploma
He is expected to be a gun wielding gangster
He is supposed to frighten you
And he is expected to fail.
Fail as you box him into
and disregard him should he choose to embrace
his Cherokee roots
strip him of his culture
make him your token blackie
continue to make it clear that you are and shall remain
better and above him
that he’ll never get his chance to advance
that being black means being guilty
and unlike you,
he will always be guilty
until proven innocent
because he has brown skin
a defensive demeanor
and anger from generations of oppression
in his eyes.
I live in the consequence of his love
I am proof that yet another
black man betrayed his own
and ran off with a white woman
I am a product of what makes people so angry and
I am my grandparents’ black granddaughter
and my aunts mixed niece
the one that’s a little lighter than the rest
the only person of color in the back of the class
the needed ‘African American perspective’ in the room.
Since I don’t speak Ebonics
rep the bloods or the crips
shoot people when they rub me wrong
live in the ghetto
yell at the movie screen
get the holy spirit in church
arrive unfashionably late to everything
eat watermelon, catfish, and fried chicken
blame everything on the white man
fuck the police
or ‘whip it like a slave’
I am too white to be black.
Since I don’t speak in Shakespearean pentameter
shop at Whole Foods
adopt kids from foreign countries
have a token black friend
drink coffee only from Starbucks
read the daily newspaper
watch Jeopardy and the History Channel
cross the street when I see a person of color coming toward me
tell you that you speak really good English for someone of your race
drive a minivan or have my hair cut in a shoulder length bob
toting a ice cooler full of juice boxes for the kids’ soccer practice
live in a neighborhood where the only people of color are the people hired to cut the lawns
nor will I ever live in a trailer
bear my cousin’s kids
or refer to anyone as ‘you people’
I am too black to be white.
I am too ‘white washed’ to be black
and too dark in complexion to be white.
According to you.
You looked me in the eye
and sternly attempted
to convince me that
there is no such thing as race;
however, you are one of the very individuals
that refuses to cease
trapping me in
a check marked
box that you most closely identify me with.
Not even multiracial.
A word used for horses and dogs
if you want to be literal and scientific'
we are all animals anyways.